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By Tom Bateman • Updated: 14/07/2021
Europe’s carmakers are tackling the shift to electric vehicles (EVs) with, it’s fair to say, varying levels of enthusiasm.
But as ten European countries and dozens of cities plan to ban sales of new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2035, companies are increasingly realising that they can’t afford to be left behind.
Another issue is the infrastructure they need. Data analysis by industry lobby group ACEA found that 70 per cent of all EU EV charging stations are concentrated in just three countries in Western Europe: the Netherlands (66,665), France (45,751) and Germany (44,538).
Despite the major obstacles, if last week’s “EV day” of announcements by one of the world’s biggest car manufacturers, Stellantis, proved one thing it’s that electric cars are here to stay.
But how long will it take for Europe’s cars to go fully electric?
The German carmaker has set itself a relatively low target compared to some others on this list, with the goal of at least 50 per cent of sales to be “electrified” by 2030.
BMW subsidiary Mini has loftier ambitions, claiming to be on track to become fully electric by “the beginning of the coming decade”. According to the manufacturer, just over 15 per cent of Minis sold in 2021 have been electric.
The company behind Mercedes-Benz previously announced it would phase out ICE cars by 2039. But now there are suggestions it could be speeding up the shift to electric.
According to German trade magazine Automobilwoche, Daimler CEO Ola Källenius will announce a plan to go all-electric by the end of this decade in July.
Don’t hold your breath. While the Italian supercar maker plans to reveal its first all-electric car in 2025, former CEO Louis Camilieri said last year he believed the company would never go all in on electric.
While the recently announced all-American, all-electric F150 Lightning pickup truck has turned heads in the US, Ford’s European arm is where the electric action is.
Ford says that by 2030, all of its passenger vehicles sold in Europe will be all-electric. It also claims that two-thirds of its commercial vehicles will be either electric or hybrids by the same year.
2040 is the date Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe has set for the company to phase out ICE vehicles.
The Japanese company had already committed to selling only “electrified” – meaning electric or hybrid – vehicles in Europe by 2022.
In May, Reuters reported that Korea-based Hyundai planned to cut the number of fossil fuel-powered cars in its line-up by half, in order to concentrate development efforts on EVs.
The manufacturer says it’s aiming for full electrification in Europe by 2040.
Jaguar Land Rover
The British conglomerate announced in February that its Jaguar brand would go fully electric by 2025. The shift for Land Rover will be, well, slower.
The company says 60 per cent of Land Rovers sold in 2030 will be zero-emissions. That coincides with the date of when its home market, the UK, is banning the sale of new ICE vehicles.
France’s best selling carmaker last month revealed plans for 90 per cent of its vehicles to be fully electric by 2030.
To achieve this the company hopes to launch 10 new EVs by 2025, including a revamped, electrified version of the 90s classic Renault 5. Boy racers rejoice.
The megacorp formed by a merger of Peugeot and Fiat-Chrysler earlier this year made a big EV announcement last week.
Its German brand Opel will go fully electric in Europe by 2028, the company said, while 98 per cent of its models in Europe and North America will be fully electric or electric hybrids by 2025.
An early pioneer of electric hybrids with the Prius, Toyota says it will release 15 new battery-powered EVs by 2025.
It’s a show of effort from a company – the world’s biggest car manufacturer – that has seemed content to rest on its laurels. Last year CEO Akio Toyoda reportedly ranted about battery EVs at the company’s annual general meeting, falsely claiming that they were more polluting than internal combustion vehicles.
For a company that has repeatedly faced fines for cheating in emissions tests, VW appears to be taking the transition to electric seriously.
Volkswagen has said it aims for all of its cars to be battery-electric by 2035.
“This means that Volkswagen will probably produce the last vehicles with internal combustion engines for the European market between 2033 and 2035,” the company said.
Perhaps it isn’t surprising that a Swedish car company from the land of “flygskam” plans to phase out all ICE vehicles by 2030.
“There is no long-term future for cars with an internal combustion engine,” Volvo’s chief technology officer Henrik Green said during an announcement of the manufacturer’s plans earlier this year.